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Václav Talich Special Edition Vol 8 - Tchaikovsky, Wagner

Release Date: 04/25/2006 
Label:  Supraphon   Catalog #: 3828   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Richard WagnerPeter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  Vaclav Talich
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Czech Philharmonic OrchestraCzecho-Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Mono 
Length: 1 Hours 3 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Václav Talich leads a rather straightforward "Pathétique" that emphasizes the score's musical structure over its emotional content. Tempos are pretty much standard (the performance's overall timing is a normal 45 minutes) if a bit slow in the opening movement's allegro first subject. This is not to say that Talich eschews the symphony's emotionalism--that's not really possible as Tchaikovsky writes it into virtually every bar. Rather, Talich creates tension through his steely control and scrupulous attention to the music's rhythm, articulation, and dynamics. Thus, the first-movement climax, free of the swooning and sobbing of some other interpreters, is even more affecting in the grim manner Talich relates it. Read more Likewise, in the Finale Talich creates ever-increasing anxiety in the way he swings the rhythm of the central theme, then later renders the great climax with the coldness of an executioner.

Like Bernstein's last recording, Talich holds an unrelenting pace in the marching third movement, which builds to a tremendous conclusion. However, this approach works to the disadvantage of the 5/4 Allegro con grazia, which needs more flow than it receives here. The Czech Philharmonic performs with its legendary precision, ensemble balance, and textural clarity. Supraphon's 1955 mono recording places some instruments, most notably the timpani, too far in the distance, but otherwise it sounds fine for its vintage.

The coupling offers Talich leading the Prague Radio Symphony in a focused, intense reading of Wagner's Tristan und Isolde Prelude and Liebestod that sports some wonderfully shimmering strings at the conclusion. This actually comes first on the CD, but after the Pathétique's dark conclusion, a little spiritual ascension is surely not out of order. The sound is decent here too. In all, a real gift for Talich fans.

--Victor Carr Jr, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

Tristan und Isolde: Prelude and Liebestod by Richard Wagner
Conductor:  Vaclav Talich
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Czech Philharmonic Orchestra,  Czecho-Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1859; Germany 
Length: 17 Minutes 28 Secs. 
Symphony no 6 in B minor, Op. 74 "Pathétique" by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  Vaclav Talich
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Czech Philharmonic Orchestra,  Czecho-Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1893; Russia 
Length: 45 Minutes 45 Secs. 

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